Age-Specific Associations Between Violence Exposure and Past 30-Day Marijuana and Alcohol Use

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Using data from a cohort study of students at risk for high school dropout, we examined associations between violence exposure and past 30-day alcohol and marijuana use. We used varying-coefficient regression with person-level fixed effects to estimate how those associations changed within-person across ages approximately 14–23. Generally, violence perpetration was most strongly associated with substance use, within-person. Substance use became increasingly associated with both observed violence and violence perpetration during early/middle adolescence; this increase continued longer into development (age 18+) for alcohol use. Across most of the age range studied here, violence victimization was minimally associated with within-person changes in substance use. Results indicate age-specific associations between violence exposure and alcohol and other drug use, which may be useful for informing prevention strategies.

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